Living fossils? Why is a buck a buck? It's time to test your outdoors knowledge

Len Lisenbee
Canandaigua Daily Messenger

It’s rather funny, but next to dumb outdoor crooks, outdoor trivia is probably the most requested column topic by many of my semi-regular readers.

And I can understand why. It gives them a chance to test their knowledge against “the man,” namely me. So, without causing any more laughter, here is the latest outdoor trivia quiz.

HT File PhotoP.D. Lail harvested this 61-inch, 59-pound sturgeon during the brief 2014 sturgeon season last February. Lake sturgeon are once again in season in Otsego Lake.

1. Does western New York state have any “Living Fossils,” and, if it does, can you name one?

2. Shark attacks in Florida and elsewhere have been in the news this year. True or False: Sharks have actually been swimming in the Earth’s oceans for many millions of years, even before the first dinosaurs.

3. Here’s another True or False: The Appalachian Trail is actually more than 2,160 miles long.

4. Some folks want to bring the grizzly bear back to parts of Idaho, but others don’t think that is such a hot idea. Is the grizzly bear an endangered species?

5. While we are on endangered species questions, a few years ago wolves were reintroduced into parts of Wyoming and Montana in the Yellowstone National Park area. True or False: That program has turned out to be a miserable failure because too many wolves were shot while supposedly attacking cattle.

6. Can you name one of the two breeds of dogs that originated in this country? Bonus! Can you name both?

Len Lisenbee

7. True or False: There are more than 20,000 species of bees in the world.

8. True or False: Of all the bee species, only six are honeybees.

9. A “buck” is the slang word for a dollar. But how did it come to be that way?

10. While we are on the subject of deer, within 1 million, how many deer were believed to be roaming North America when Virginia and Massachusetts were fledgling colonies?

11. Here is a really tough one. Why do we call the young of a deer a fawn and the young of a moose, which is another member of the deer family, a calf?

12. True or False: Wild turkey poults are actively feeding on insects within one hour of leaving their nest.

13. Where did the term, "Flash in the pan" come from?

14. True or False: One of the smartest things a hunter can do when he sees another hunter approaching or moving close by is to wave and get his attention?

15. Here is another toughie. Deer, mainly whitetails but also mule deer, are far and away the most popular game for a majority of hunters. But what is the second most-popular game bird or animal?

Alright, I was pretty tough on you gals and guys this time. But here is a bonus question that might help your score out. Which species of North American duck has shown the greatest population decline over the past 30 years? (Hint, it is a very popular duck around here, but it is especially popular in the far west.)

Eastern wild turkey hen with six 4-6 week old poults cross a street in Randolph.

The answers

1. Yes. The lake sturgeon, Atlantic sturgeon, and bowfin (a primitive ‘lung’ fish with rounded lobes) all inhabit waters around here. There are several other possible answers to this question, too.

2. True. Sharks have been lurking in the oceans and seas since the Silurian period that ended around 410 million years ago. Dinosaurs first appeared early in the Triassic period, around 245 million years ago.

3. True. It extends from Georgia to Maine, taking the high ground every step of the way.

4. No. It is actually a thriving species throughout much of western Canada and Alaska, and it’s population in the continental U.S. is stable or increasing everywhere it is currently found.

5. False. Wolves are now an integral part of the Yellowstone ecosystem, thanks to the reintroduction effort. And there have only been (approximately) 17 reported cases of wolves attacking cattle. Defenders of Wildlife, a private non-profit organization, has paid each of the affected ranchers cash for their livestock losses.

6. The Chesapeake Bay retriever and coonhound.

7. True. And that is a lot of bees.

8. True, all the rest are classed as pollen bees, but they don’t make honey. Some examples of pollen bees include the common bumble bee, shaggy fuzzyfoot bee, hornfaced bee and blueberry bee. (Hey, I just supply the questions and answers, I don’t make this stuff up.)

9. In colonial times a buck, short for buckskin, actually meant any deerskins, which were actually the medium of exchange or currency on the frontier.

10. It is estimated there were around 3.5 to 5 million deer in North America at the time Jamestown and Plymouth were founded.

11. The early wildlife experts in America followed a simple rule from their European roots. Fawns have spots, and calves do not. (Hey, I told you it was a tough one!)

12. True. They actually begin feeding shortly after the hen leads them away from the nest and begins scratching the ground herself. And did you know that, even though a clutch of turkey eggs may take two weeks or more to lay, they all hatch within around 30 hours of each other? That is because the hen does not begin brooding until all of her eggs have been laid.

13. It came from history. Back when flintlock rifles and pistols were the only game in town (roughly from 1725 to 1825), it was anything but uncommon for the flint in the cock (hammer) to strike the frizzen and touch off the priming powder held in the pan with hot sparks. If the burning priming powder failed to travel through the vent or touch hole to ignite the main charge contained inside the barrel and under the bullet or ball, it was called a flash in the pan.

14. Definitely false. Waving can be mistaken for wild game movement, and some so-called hunters may shoot before they take the time to identify the source of the movement. Instead, don’t hesitate to holler out to get his attention. Deer and turkey have yet to learn how to talk, much less holler.

15. Rabbits and hares hold down the second spot, followed very closely by squirrels. Either one is acceptable as a correct answer for this question. (I know. I spoil you guys and gals with lots of latitude, right?) And if you are interested, the next most popular are wild turkey, quail, and doves, in that order.

Bonus: The pintail is actually still in a (small) population decline, and biologists are scratching their heads as to why. This tasty duck species has had nearly ideal breeding conditions for several years, but has not responded like virtually every other duck species.

By the way, if you said scaup ducks, they are down in population, too. So, consider scaup as another correct answer, too.

Len Lisenbee is the Daily Messenger’s Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at